June 24, 2024

Executives of hospitals or clinics found violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act must be fined P5 million, according to a bill filed at the Lower House.
House Bill 3046 seeks to amend Republic Act 10932 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act that currently carries an imprisonment of four to six years, a fine of P500,000 to P1M or both, on directors or officers of hospitals or clinics responsible for implementing policies or instructions that demand deposit prior to administering treatment for emergency and serious cases. 
The law also penalizes hospital employees or medical practitioners found guilty of violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law with a fine of P100,000 to P300,000 and/or imprisonment of six months to two years.
Benguet Rep. Eric Go Yap authored the amendatory bill together with Reps. Paolo Duterte of Davao City; Edvic Yap, Jocelyn Tulfo, and Jeffrey Soriano of ACT-CIS party-list; and Ralph Tulfo of Quezon City.
The authors stated there is a need to increase the fine against erring employees and officials of medical facilities, as there is still a significant number of reports of hospitals violating the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.
In the proposed amendment, the hospital or clinic director or officer responsible will be penalized with a prison term of six to 12 years and/or fined P2M to P5M, provided the courts found that the violation was committed as a result of the medical facility’s established policy or upon instructions of its management.
“The law asserts the right of an individual to be admitted to any hospital and be given basic emergency care without being asked to hand over an advance payment outright. This is in consonance with the Hippocratic Oath that physicians take, pledging to help the sick to the best of their ability and knowledge. Hence, hospitals, in general, are duty bound to provide care and treatment to those who are injured or suffering,” the bill said.
Also, HB 3046 allows the filing of administrative cases against erring hospital employees and officials with the corresponding penalty of suspension, cancellation, or revocation of their professional licenses including the revocation of the medical facility’s license to operate by the Department of Health after three repeated violations of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law.
The president, chair, board of directors or trustees, and other officers will also be held liable for da-mages the court may award to the patient-complainant.
The lawmakers also proposed the establishment of a go-vernment hotline by the DOH where the public can report and seek immediate assistance againsterring hospital and clinic personnel. – Ofelia C. Empian